Jacob's Creek, PA Darr Mine Explosion, Dec 1907

Darr Mine Disaster - identifying the bodies

An explosion in the Darr Mine on Dec. 19, 1907, killed 239 coal miners, many of whom were Hungarian. Seventy-one of the dead share a common grave in Olive Branch Cemetery. December, 1907, was the worst month in US coal mining history with over 3000 dead.

Text from Darr Mine Disaster State Historical Marker, located at Olive Branch Cemetery, PA Route 981 between PA Route 51 and Smithton, Pa.; Van Meter, Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County


A coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania, kills 239 workers on this day in 1907. Only one worker in the deep mine at the time survived the tragedy.

Joseph Mapleton, who was near a side entryway to the mine when the explosion occurred, was the sole survivor of the disaster. The victims died from a variety of causes: Some were crushed to death from the collapse of the mine, others suffocated and the remainder was killed in the blast itself. The precise cause of the explosion was never determined, but most coal-mine blasts are set off when a pocket of gas is accidentally ignited. Prior to the disaster, there was much talk among the miners about the prevalence of gas pockets in the Darr mine.  Read more from history.com


More Resources

Darr mine relief fund report to the Executive committee, covering the collection and distribution of the public fund for the dependents of the men killed by the explosion in the Darr mine of the Pittsburgh coal company, December 19th, 1907

Darr Mine Disaster from the Old Miner, photos and articles

Darr Mine Disaster from the United States Mine Rescue Association, includes two newspaper accounts

Read articles about the Darr Mine Disaster (below)